What to Wear
Though you will undoubtedly see a range of outfits in India, anything from traditional Indian Saris to tourist wear, we as an organization strive to maintain a professional appearance when working overseas.
Our image and our reputation is incredibly important and the way we present ourselves is the first step toward maintaining positive relationships with our partners.
We request that all of our participants dress appropriately and modestly, with their shoulders, knees and cleavage covered, when in:
• our accommodation
• around the local community
• when participating in the program activities.
We’re not trying to be the fashion police, but it’s so important when forming relationships with partners and with communities that we respect their culture. Living and working in another country is different to being on holiday there.
Below is a breakdown of what clothing is considered appropriate for each stage of the program:
Week 1 - Early Stages
The early part of the week in India is spent in the School of Ancient Wisdom and largely involves workshops on yoga, mindfulness and meditation. For these, please bring comfy, but culturally respectable, clothing. Think t-shirts and baggy bottoms; see these guys below for for some fashion-inspo. Avoid sheer materials, and cover your knees, shoulders and cleavage.
Week 1 - Latter Stages
The latter part of Week 1 takes place at NIMHANS, which is one of the top 5 psychiatric treatment facilities in the world. Please dress accordingly.
You’ll need to be in collared shirts and loose, professional trousers and closed-toed shoes for these days. Try to think about what medical professionals in your home country would wear to work in a psychiatric hospital and follow suit.
We require team members wear neutral colours and non-patterned shirts and trousers whilst at NIMHANS so please take inspiration from the guys below.
Week 1 - The Weekend
At the end of Week 1 you’ll be exploring the beautiful Mysore. Getting the opportunity to explore the markets, Mysore’s gorgeous palace and to get a feel for the real India. You will still need to be culturally appropriate but this doesn't need to be as formal. Harem pants and tee shirts are fine just remember to keep those knees and shoulders covered!
Wardrobe Guidelines - Ladies
Too often skirts and shirts that look OK in a store are totally see-through in the sun. Hold your clothes up to a window to check if they are suitable. We get it ladies, the struggle is real, but please do this test to make sure your clothes are 100% India appropriate. For further guidance, check out this video as the advice we give is the same for our projects in Bali and the time spent at NIMHANS during the program.
The main things to consider are:
• Is it opaque?
• Does it cover your shoulders/cleavage/knees?
• Is it going to be cool enough? You’re going to be hot whatever you wear, but loose, breathable fabrics help
• Is it loose enough? i.e. It shouldn’t show the outline of your figure
• Does it look smart and presentable? Would you see a Healthcare Assistant or a teacher wearing this in your own country? If the answer is ‘no’ please don’t pack it.
Wardrobe Guidelines - Gentlemen
No shoulders or knees out for you either, guys. Although we know cleavage isn’t likely to be an issue for you, those naughty knees need to be covered, even during yoga, so please keep them covered.
There are a few scheduled nights out during the program and if you’d like to get a bit dressed up, we won’t discourage you. One or two nice outfits will be plenty for the trip. Remember, there will be shopping too!
Tattoos and Piercings
Due to cultural norms, tattoos and piercings need to be covered up and taken out whenever you are at NIMHANS.
If you have additional ear piercings, facial or tongue piercing you’ll have to take it out. Enlarged lobes must be replaced with flesh coloured or clear retainers.
No visible tattoos are permitted. Our participants with tattoos cover them up with clothing or with strategically placed bandages and tube grips. We are super lucky to be given the access to such a prestigious institution. As a result we need to be seen as professional and respectful to the local culture.